Has someone new just moved into town? Is he or she a person from your past? Are memories and emotions resurfacing even though they were long left behind? It sucks – doesn’t it? – when, just as you start to feel comfortable, your exes become an all too real presence in your part of the city.
No matter how long it has been, exes spawn potent reactions because they arrive with oversized and overweight piles of emotional baggage. Upon seeing them, you get to re-experience your first meeting, and, thus, ogle over whatever attracted you to them in the first place. Then, as they speak in a certain way, you start to remember their savvy sense of humor. Crap. They are still cute, but should they come back into your life?
Obviously, I recently ran into an ex that I hadn’t seen in five years. Since we had been friends first, we decided to act like friends and have dinner. This was fine until I started to marvel at how easy it was to talk to him. I found myself speaking without thinking and felt relieved because he just knew me.
Then I remembered that I had ended the relationship because he had suffocated me – claiming that I had been ignoring him when I just needed space, claiming I liked to hurt his feelings, and a couple of other bizarre accusations that I simply hadn’t the patience to even entertain. He was far too codependent for me – which was surprising because I feel that is something that I would appreciate. I became so annoyed that I abruptly ended the relationship and ignored him for weeks though we had many mutual friends. To this day, I still feel ashamed that I never got to say that I cared the world for him but just could not imagine that the partnership was healthy for either of us. So, my guilt aside, what I was doing having dinner with an ex? This guy was a psycho!
Then I realized I was seeing him as he was in the past and sitting across from me was a new version much improved by time. The guilt I felt was mine alone and I really didn’t know how the relationship had occurred for him. In a way, I was actually still not over him because that guilt is what kept me from connecting with who he is today.
When it comes to exes we need to clear up the confusion and apologize for who we were being. When I finally brought up our relationship, my ex surprised me in saying,
“I always knew that you weren’t in love with me. You tried your best and I thank you for my sake, but something was always missing and I kept complaining because I couldn’t give up the picture of us that I had in mind. In retrospect, I think that we ruined a great friendship. Also, you need to stop trying to make yourself like people just because they are interested in you. You need to listen to that gut instinct and stop the progression for the other person’s sake as well as yours. I can’t wait for you to stop being a heartbreaker and just be in love.”
The clarity, relief, and freedom of that moment simply cannot be expressed in words. Going forward, my ex and I have become even better friends than we were before.
So, when can an ex come back into your life? Whenever you can apologize for who you were being and decide to clear up any confusion that arose in the parting. It takes two to make a relationship fail. Forgive them so that you can forgive yourself. Then, who knows what can happen?